It's that time of year when many people make "New Year's Resolutions"– but I stopped setting New Year’s Resolutions several years ago. I had just finished participating in an 8-week health challenge during the Fall. After the challenge, I resolved to continue living that healthy lifestyle but didn’t want to wait until January 1st. So, I stuck to that program on my own for one year, and got in the best shape I have ever been in physically. (It was the only time in my life I have had a “six pack” of ab muscles.)
Even though I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions, I believe in goal setting. This won’t be my last post about this topic! Each day is a chance for us to reset and start again. Over the holidays, I planned to eat really well, and I did, but I wasn’t perfect. At a family party, I ate THREE desserts...and they tasted so good! However, I woke up the next morning and reset by going to a Hot Fusion class at the gym and resolving to eat better that day.
A while ago, I watched an interview with Noelle Pikus-Pace. She talked about how important goal setting was on her journey to become an Olympian. Noelle continued to set goals every day as a mother and had a composition book with three little goals written down for that day. Ever since I watched that clip, I started writing down three important small goals for my day. I can get easily distracted, so this has helped me focus. When I do get off track, I pull out my notebook. If I miss a day, I reset and start the next day.
Realistic & Personal Goals
The holidays are a tough time of year to be disciplined. After one holiday season, a friend told me that his budget was going great until the Christmas holiday. I asked him if he tracked how much he spent that Christmas. He did, so next year he can create a realistic holiday budget. Budgets need to be personal.
My brother drove a Toyota Prius and it got great gas mileage. I drive a 1999 Dodge Caravan, which doesn’t get great gas mileage. It wouldn't do any good to expect my minivan to perform like his hybrid sedan. But, I have done this with budgeting. One time I tried to spend what my neighbor spent on groceries - even though she has one child and I have four children. She has a hybrid budget, and mine is a minivan budget. I've learned to budget what is realistic and personal for our situation, which I learned by tracking how much it takes to maintain our lifestyle.
Gauging our budget
My older minivan has low gas mileage and runs well, but there are some features that don’t work. A couple of months after I bought it, the fuel gauge stopped working. I decided not to repair it, but I had to gauge the amount of gas in the van's tank so that it didn’t run out of gas and leave me stranded. I tracked and found out it could go over 200 miles on a full tank of gas. Every time I fuel up the Dodge, I reset the van’s trip meter and refuel before it gets to 200 miles. Budgets must have a gauge built into them so we don’t run out of money and end up financially stranded.
By creating a gauge in your budget and setting realistic amounts, we can make goals to reset our budgets and get in the best financial shape we’ve ever been. What’s your experience with making New Year’s Resolutions and achieving goals?